Captain Brenda Berkman permanently changed the face of firefighting. A nationally and internationally recognised trailblazer for women in non-traditional employment, she won the US federal sex discrimination lawsuit in 1982 that changed history by breaking down barriers to women firefighters. She has founded and led several national organisations of women firefighters and has relentlessly fought sexism and gender stereotypes and was featured in the landmark PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America (2013).
From 1978-1982, she worked as a lawyer specialising in employment and immigration law, including pro bono representation of applicants seeking asylum. She gave up her career in law in order to become a firefighter. Despite the discrimination that was directed at her personally because of the lawsuit, Berkman was promoted to Lieutenant and then Captain in the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). She was the first woman firefighter to serve on several committees of the National Fire Protection Association. In 1996-1997, Capt. Berkman served as a White House Fellow, the first professional firefighter (female or male) to be awarded this prestigious leadership development fellowship in the history of the programme. A first responder on 9/11, Capt. Berkman led efforts to ensure that the role of female responders were recognised equally with their male counterparts.
Following her retirement after 25 years in firefighting, she continues to advocate for women firefighters locally, nationally, and internationally while promoting and supporting other non-traditional roles for women. Capt. Berkman’s pioneering efforts have been recognised through the many awards she has received and has been featured in many films, interviews and books.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) was formed on 1 January, 1992, by a decree issued by the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum to merge Dubai Electricity Company and Dubai Water Department, which had been operating independently before then. Both organisations were established by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1959. Dubai Government fully supported the Electricity Company and the Water Department to provide Dubai’s citizens and residents with a continuous and reliable supply of electricity and water. Since then, DEWA has made considerable achievements, to be ranked as one of the best utilities in the world. DEWA provides services today to more than 900,000 customers with a happiness rate that reached 95% in 2018.
The UAE, represented by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has maintained its first global ranking, for the third consecutive year, with scores of 100% in all Getting Electricity indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. The report measures the ease of doing business in 190 economies around the world. DEWA achieved competitive results in global benchmarking, surpassing the private sector and major European and American utilities in efficiency and reliability. DEWA raised the efficiency of its energy production by using the latest technologies and adopting technological innovations, surpassing European and American utilities, by reducing losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks to 3.3% compared to 6–7% in the US and Europe. DEWA also achieved the lowest customer minutes lost per year (CML) in the world of 2.39 CML compared to 15 minutes in Europe and was also able to reduce water network losses to 6.5% in 2018 compared to 15% in North America, which is one of the best results in the world.